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Across the city from Sara Gaspard and her demonic house guest, hours before the woman would wake to the creature's watchful red eyes, a portly security guard sat in his office and watched a portable television.

Robert Carlson reclined in his desk chair and flipped through the channels in search of a replay for last night's basketball game. A bank of fixed monitors surrounding him relayed flickering, monochrome images, various angles and shots capturing the words Klau Incorporated back-lit in white neon along a wall. The pieces came together in disjointed patches and patterns. Streetlights at the curb illuminated oblique lines through the empty lobby, and the light caught the side of one rounded pillar, the bottom of the mezzanine, and the banister's rail. Benches and padded chairs lined a recessed pond where koi fish swam laps in quiet, restless circles.

Coins piled in the belly of a plastic charity box glittered at the pond's front.

Robert found the right channel and popped a pretzel into his mouth. He brushed salty crumbs from his uniform.

Ambiance from the idle monitors provided relief in the otherwise dark, unlit room, the screens blinking from one black and white image to another every twenty-five seconds, as designed. Dozens upon dozens of unoccupied rooms came into focus while Robert watched his game: conference rooms and storage blocks, technician floors and individual offices, long halls, barren basements, and cluttered cubicles. Only the CEO's private level remained unpictured.

Though Robert didn't understand why the company desired such an abundance of surveillance, he didn't question his job and definitely didn't question the substantial paycheck he received for his implied discretion. If he occasionally sold bits of information regarding the building's goings-on to interested parties, that was no one's business but his own, and he saw no harm in it. Why anyone would be interested in such boring recordings, he'd never know.

The game progressed, and time went on. Robert finished his pretzels, balled up the empty bag, and shot it into the bin several feet away, tossing his arms up when the crumpled plastic sunk over the rim. Dials beneath nineteen of the surrounding monitors continued to blaze a positive green and their pictures rotated with precision every twenty-five seconds. Flick, flick, flick.

One, however, had changed.

Robert surveyed the monitors and paused when his eyes caught the final screen in the row, the indicator beneath it burning a steady red.

Grunting, Robert levered his weight upright, the chair groaning its approval, and went to the monitor, tapping the indicator twice to ensure the sensors hadn't malfunctioned. They hadn't. The image remained fixed upon a section of the lobby, the pillars supporting the upper mezzanine casting shadows by the pond's edge. At first, Robert saw nothing out of the ordinary; he'd locked the main doors hours ago and had done his single, passing patrol, though the koi had been known to trigger the sensitive cameras if riled. He grumbled about stupid fish and went to sit in his chair again—when he saw the man.

The man stood at the pond's lip, slouched enough to observe the panicked fish thrashing in the water, his body almost invisible in the colonnade's shadow. In the monitor's black and white image, his face appeared moon-like above the darker gradations, and Robert would have mistaken it for glare on the lens if the man hadn't shifted and looked to the camera up above.

"What is that?" Robert murmured, brow wrinkled as he fiddled with the dials to adjust the monitor's contrast. The man did not disappear, and Robert, fumbling with the keys on his belt, did not take his eyes from the screen's grainy display. He'd only just completed his walkthrough of the building a few hours ago; starting with the floor below the CEO's private level before winding down to his office near the lobby itself, and though he'd had to rouse the occasional sleeping technician slumped over their desk in the past, tonight hadn't been one of those nights. The main doors locked remotely and the loading dock in the building's rear had shut hours before closing time.

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